click here to see a detailed history and pics of Ish
The History of our  Flaming Orange "Sunset" Skink Collection

As many of you know, I have been into blue tongues since the late 80's and owned Easterns and Northerns since then. It seems I always had some blues in my life. Before I even seen an IJ's, I saw only the Australian species and the Indios (Gigas gigas). My first reptile was an iguana, inspired by a man I seen parading up and down Haight and Ashbury in SF. This majestic creature was over five feet long with tail and sat on the fortunate shoulders of its owner. The green and black banded miracle of nature was an absolute rare and stunning sight. It was the first time I ever touched a lizard and it seemed to acquiesce kindly to my constant petting. My entire life changed at that moment. I knew I wanted an Iguana. I waited six months to see if this was just a "phase" and did the appropriate research (which was difficult since books on reptile care at the time were scarce at best). I remember reading book after book which listed reptiles and had little blurbs with just a scant description of their husbandry (often times misinformed). I loved that Iguana and think about him fondly even today.

Of course my love of reptiles expanded exponentially and I searched high and low for more true "pet" lizards. One consistency in all the literature out on reptiles was the pristine and flawless reputation of the amazingly friendly and mild mannered Australian blue tongue skink. All of the literature at that time also referred to the Australian blue's counterpart, the Indonesian blue tongue (T.Gigas, gigas) as its opposite in demeanor as they were terrors (being all imports.) When I saw my first Australian blue tongue with the yellow to orange banding, the cobalt blue tongue with its sweet temperament, I was sold. I knew they were expensive (even more so in the late 80's) due to their scarcity but I was determined to acquire one. I didn't know much at that time how to take care of them and I (am sad to say) even kept them on sand like a leopard gecko or bearded dragon since I thought it would be convenient that their excrement could be scooped out like kitty litter. Little did I know it became a disgusting and unhygienic mess and was an unsuitable medium since they like to burrow into leaf litter or other natural foliage.

I've owned many Australian blues, some were lost due to my ignorance, and others were lost in a break up with my ex. I remember having the classic Northerns with their speckled backs, black banding with yellow or gold portholes. Some even had the slight traces of the eye stripe seen in a lot of Australian blues. Easterns in those old days had a very distinct black stripe across the eyes as if someone just laid down a stroke of fresh paint. I haven't seen Easterns look like Easterns since I seen Ray Gurgui's.

Finally in 1990 or so, Philippe Vosjoli began releasing a series of small books on specific reptiles such as the leopard gecko and burmese pythons. No book was released about the amazing blue tongues. I still yearned for information and read cogger's book while my mouth foamed over in envy as I looked at all the other Australian blues such as the "western" and "central" species.

In 1996 I met a man who had an extensive collection of the rarest blue tongues I have ever seen to date. He has several phases of Shinglebacks, Easterns of different color types, Alpine Blotched and a slew of Northerns with differing colors.

He refused sale initially on several groups of animals but when I saw his animals I knew I had to have them. I acquired three different groups one of which became the best purchase of my life, the original  flaming orange pair I have to this day. I still recall what he said about them as the information he shared and the animals he showed me became indelibly scored in my memory. One group I regret purchasing were the "silver" phase Northerns - they all looked like Lissa but silver. They had the portholes and the same outlines of a normal Northern but they were all silver! They were also the largest blue tongues I have ever seen; significantly larger than any I have seen since the last 10 years.

My orange pair is unrelated as they don't even look alike but the owner said he tried his best to find a true Northern that was faded and carried that orange hue. He said he spent years trying to find the right mate and never seen a more orange skink his entire life (20+ years of experience at that time). At the time the skinks were four to six years old which makes them old but I wanted them anyways. I agreed wholeheartedly and paid a large sum for each of them even though they could've been OLDER than what he said they were. I crossed my fingers and hoped they would eventually breed. Even then in 96, I knew that these "color phases" were unique and special. I knew instinctively that like colored animals should be bred with each other. I didn't even CONSIDER hybridizing any animals. I still believe it's wrong and doesn't "improve" on what nature has already perfected.

First published on a thread on

Date of Birth

Joey and Josey: May 20, 2000

Evie, Ish Jr. and Quasi: May 2001

Neo, Trinity, Morpheus and Switch: June 2004















click here for a detailed history and pics of Em
Ish (Original Male) Em (Original Female)
Click here for detailed history and pics of Joey click here for a detailed history and pics of Josey
Joey (F1 Male)  Josey (F1 Female)
click for an enlarged picture of Ish Jr. click here for an enlarged picture of Evie
Ish Jr. (F1 Male) 

Evie (F1 Female)

click here for an enlarged picture of Neo click for an enlarged picture of Trinity

Neo (F2 future breeder)

Trinity (F2 future breeder)

click here for an enlarged picture of Morpheus click here for an enlarged picture of Switch

Morpheus (F2 future breeder)

Switch (F2 Future breeder)